Hughes rocks to 4th in Scotland British Rally Championship contender Simon Hughes finished fourth in the Super 1600 category of the Scottish International Rally at the weekend, after an eventful 24 hours in the forests near to Dumfries. With...
Hughes rocks to 4th in Scotland
British Rally Championship contender Simon Hughes finished fourth in the Super 1600 category of the Scottish International Rally at the weekend, after an eventful 24 hours in the forests near to Dumfries.
With regular co-driver Calvin Cooledge unavailable to take part in the event, Oswestry's Craig Parry stepped in to partner Colwyn Bay based Simon for the event, the pair having worked together previously under the ProSpeed Motorsport banner. With a new partnership in place, attention was firmly focussed on getting the best possible result in the Renault Clio Super 1600 machine. Competition would be tough over the two day event, but Hughes was confident of being able to take a podium finish in the Super 1600 category.
Starting on the Friday evening, Hughes started steadily as he adjusted to driving flat out once again. Suzuki works driver Guy Wilks was setting the pace in his Ignis, whilst Italian Championship front runner Leon Pesticcio was also on the pace. Hughes admitted that he struggled to get up to speed on the opening couple of stages, and a small misfire also cost time during one stage.
As the crews returned to Dumfries for the overnight halt, Hughes was pleased to be just one second behind the Ford Puma Kit Car of Jonnie Wigmore -- the Puma benefitting from being able to run in its true kit car format -- making it both lighter and more powerful than the Super 1600 Clio. The ProSpeed Motorsport run Clio was working well, and Hughes was confident that he could move into third sport during the longer second day.
The early morning start would see Hughes start well, and the 21 year old Welshman was immediately setting Top 3 Super 1600 times as the rally headed towards first service. Less than a second separated Hughes from Wigmore as they left service, but unfortunately for Hughes, he would see his deficit increased by nearly 25 seconds after a costly puncture seriously hampered the Renault's progress during one eight mile stage.
Disappointed with the time loss, Simon bounced back in style, setting a series of excellent stage time right until the end of the rally. Try as he did, Hughes could not quite catch up the time lost due to the limited stage mileage on offer, and he had to settle for fourth in the Super 1600 category after two hard days in the forests.
Hughes was pleased with his overall performance:
"The misfire and the puncture cost us some time, but apart from that, Craig and I put in a good performance. I very much felt the need to finish the event after not reaching the end in Wales, so if anything I was probably a little bit cautious over the first couple of stages. Craig and I gelled very well early on, and we worked extremely well together all weekend. I could not fault the car apart from a small misfire that cost us a few seconds on one stage. That aside, it was a good performance and I enjoyed the stages, and ProSpeed Motorsport did a great job in running the car. The help we also received from Elf Oil, PIAA and Nokia was also invaluable in keeping our challenge going at this stage of the season. The Clio is very well suited to the demands of tarmac, which is next on the list, so we hope to keep the fight going there"
Hughes will contest the Jim Clark Memorial Rally next, as the championship switches to tarmac for three super fast events in Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Ulster. As an all-rounder, Hughes will be keen to get the best result possible in Kelso early next month.